Mega condo launched, another tower for the homeless to gawk at?

More residential roofs coming up as more homeless folks surface.

Photo: Facebook Screen grab from the Treasure Tampines page

Touted as Singapore’s largest private residential project, Treasure at Tampines’ was launched and opened for preview last Fri (Mar 15), once again flaunting Singapore’s wealth.

Sitting on a sprawling 650,000 sq ft site of former Tampines Court HUDC estate, Treasure at Tampines, offers 2,203 units. This makes it the biggest condominium development in Singapore, according to its developer, the Sim Lian Group which acquired the collective sale site for S$970 million in 2017.

Treasure at Tampines followed the launch of another mega project earlier this month – the Florence Residences, a 1,410-unit leasehold project in Hougang with an average selling price of nearly S$1,400 per square foot. Developed by Logan Property, this takes the site of another HUDC estate Florence Regency that was also sold en bloc in 2017.

A cavalcade of projects offering more than 1,000 units are also in the pipeline, according to market observers. Singapore-based leading property company Huttons Asia research head Lee Sze Teck says these include Parc Clematis, Avenue South Residences and the former Normanton Park. However, Lee reckons Treasure at Tampines could remain the biggest project in terms of units on offer.

Singapore’s condominium construction industry

According to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), total construction demand is anticipated to be in the range of $27 billion to $32 billion in 2019. This is comparable to the estimated $30.5 billion construction contracts awarded in 2018.

The public sector is expected to account for between $16.5 billion and $19.5 billion, contributing to 60% of projected construction demand in 2019. It is bolstered by major infrastructure and a pipeline of major industrial building projects.

Construction contracts worth $10.5 billion to $12.5 billion are expected to come from the private sector this year, representing about 40% of total construction demand. The bulk will come from the redevelopment of successful en bloc sites transacted in the recent collective sale cycle from the secind half of 2017 to the first half of 2018, says Teo Jing Siong, group director of BCA’s strategic planning office.

Private residential developments are expected to bring in $4.3 billion to $4.7 billion in construction demand this year, slightly lower than last year’s $5.2 billion, says Teo. The rest will come from new iindustrial developments.

People left behind?

Amidst the construction frenzy and the prevalence of housing structures in the city-state, it is ironic that there are people who do not have a roof above their heads — the homeless within Singapore. And just because one doesn’t see them, it doesn’t mean they are not there.

In 2010, news media Al Jazeera English was taken off from MIO TV’s programming after screening a documentary on homeless Singaporeans.

The current state of homeless folks on the island nation could be described as a far cry from 2001 when the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy dean Kishore Mahbubani was reported to have said, “There are no homeless, destitute, or starving people in Singapore. Poverty has been eradicated, not through an entitlements program but through a unique partnership between the government, corporate citizens, self-help groups and voluntary initiatives.”

Unfortunately, the homeless of Singapore will have to remain in the background with the launching of behemoth structures in the “wealthy” city state. What is certain though is that the Treasure at Tampines will be an addition to the many impressive structures that Singapore’s homeless will have to strain their necks on and ogle at.

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